Being a 17-year-old teen in a world-class human rights movement

29 September 2017


After high school graduation, students may prepare themselves going to college or taking a gap year by exploring the world or doing a part time job. Instead, Pim Singhatiraj, a 17-year-old girl whom just graduated from high school, chose to do an internship at Amnesty International Thailand. Let’s find out why by this interview.


What brought a 17-year-old girl to Amnesty?


I just graduated a high school. Ever since a few years ago I always have this dream of taking a gap semester or a gap year before going to college. So instead of going straight away to university I want and I want time to do other thing. Basically I applied to a university, I got accepted, I’m going to Middlebury College in the Vermont in the US and I’m really excited about that. So I have this time to fill up, and I always dream to filling that gap year of traveling. But half a year of traveling is very excessive. So I tried to find other way to fill up and I thought of doing internship. And I chose AI because I have been involved with AI in high school for 2 years.


Could you tell me more about the club?


I graduated from International School Bangkok. At international school, they tend to have a lot of clubs and Amnesty was one of them. The first year I joined I was just a member, but the second year I became an officer. So I played a larger role in planning events and planning the W4R event and everything. And I knew P’ May (Activism officer) through Amnesty at ISB. I remembered her telling us if anyone wanted to do an internship you can contact her, and I did. I’m really excited to have this opportunity of 2 months of work experiences. 


What kind of activities that the club has?


ISB hosted a write for rights event every single year and we call it light up night. So that’s always the event that happens. I think with every year it changes, last year we focused a bit on refugees at the end of the year. P'May brought them in and we got to talk to them. But AI and ISB was really good is that it helps students learn more about activism. Youth is activism is the idea of it.


Why are you interested in human rights work?


Because I’ve always been interested in the social sciences and humanities, that’s what I will study in university. Even though human rights work and NGO work is something that I’m learning about right now. I think eventually I want to go to education and become a teacher and teach at international school. But Why Amnesty and Human rights, I think because I have a strong connection with AI in high school. And also I did Model for United Nations for 2 years. And I love history and politics. Basically everything in high school led me into something in human rights. 


Daily roles and responsibilities


I work with Activism, P’May is my supervisor. Right now I’m working on an event that is upcoming this Sunday. I wrote a proposal, I checked up a location for my supervisor. I’m buying materials, I’m thinking of activities and everything. So that’s a rather big task. But smaller tasks that I have, writing emails, reading actions curricular and summarizing them for my supervisor.


What do you think about negative perception of activist as a radical?


The thing is I kinda accept the fact that I am more radical than Thai people so that doesn’t bother me that much. Because I can’t pretend and be conservative that’s not who I am. Because I was raised with more open-minded values. I know that activism has a negative connotation but I was raised in an international community which makes it ok for me to be different.


Human rights issue that you’re interested right now?


A lot of my work centers around refugees, and especially because I attend 3 -4 days workshop about the issue. It’s something I become knowledgeable in more that I was in the past. Maybe not compared to the others in the office. It’s something that I can feel like can work on because I’ve been to the meeting with Asylum Access Thailand. And now I’m planning an event for refugees for their community.


Challenging part so far since doing the internship


The first week was hard because even though I’ve done short term internships before, but this something that I had committed to for 2 months. The work that my supervisor assigned me, it was good work, but the thing is I didn’t know how to continue with it. And I could have asked my supervisor for more information for help, but I saw her busy with her own work. So I was sitting there, kind of miserable (laugh). But after a while I started asking questions, and she started trusting more in me, she started giving me some her own workload like small tasks, and once she gave me more tasks I felt a lot more my work was full filling which is a really good thing. But that’s also challenging because now I’m busy. Someday are very busy and I go home with a headache, but at least I know that my work is full filing so it’s ok (laugh).


What does the term “Human rights” mean to you? 


I think it’s always a heard question to answer because it’s a large concept. I think of world where everyone has human rights, there will be no longer a day in which people open the news and see something like ethnic cleansing that’s going in Myanmar right now. If people don’t see those things and they don’t think “Oh this happened in history, but why is it going now?, we need to learn from these mistakes but it keeps happening and happening” If one day we no longer think and see stuff like that on the news, I think that’s a day where human rights are achieved universally.


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If you’re interested to be an intern at Amnesty International Thailand, please click here